Swimming By The Sea
Beaches often conjure up thoughts of lazy summer days by the water spent with family and friends, fresh coastal air and a break from everyday life. So, it’s no wonder why people who live by the sea are so often inspired to add a pool to their backyard. Here, Kirrily Ireland catches up with Colin Sloggett, managing director of East Coast Swimming Pools, to find out how homeowners can achieve the perfect pool for pure beachside bliss.
By investing in a pool, you’re not only increasing the quality of your lifestyle, but also the value of your home, and what’s not to love about that? For coastal homes in particular, Sloggett believes this merely achieves “the quintessential Australian dream to own a beach house and a pool”. “Lifestyle is hugely important, and a pool is certainly a lifestyle option,” he elaborates. “Coastal real estate is rising in value and people know a swimming pool adds value.” Between aesthetics and function, there’s much to consider as you take your pool to the next level, perhaps even rivalling the sea itself.
Similar to beachside homes that take design influence from their prime locations, coastal pools can also take on a certain style “with the use of subtle design and materials sympathetic to the surrounding environment”. With the modern Hamptons-style making its mark along the coast, a fresh, contemporary pool is the perfect complementary addition. Think subtle colours and pale tones. “White tiles are popular and always look stunning,” Sloggett says.
As for the shape, the expert says, “Pool designs vary greatly along the coast from large negative-edge pools to take in the view, to lap pools for exercise, but most pools are designed around entertainment value for family and friends. Full-width, broad steps, shallow benches, and [a] beach area to recline on and relax [are all worthy choices].” Since many beachside houses are used as holiday homes, the pool is most likely going to be a place for leisure, fun and socialising, so having these different
benches, steps and beach areas around the pool will help cater to this. Throw in a waterproof lounger and you can spend the warmer months forgetting your woes and relaxing under the sun.
From the Mornington Peninsula to the Great Ocean Road, Victoria is home to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country. Having your own aquatic oasis to unwind in while enjoying the breathtaking ocean views is certainly desirable, but with pool edges and fences threatening to block these views, Sloggett suggests opting for a negative edge or horizon design. This means the pool walls are elevated, generally over a crevice or raised part of land, which reduces the need for fencing and allows swimmers to come right up to the edge and take in the surrounding scenery without interruption.
Keep It Natural
In order to fully integrate your pool into the ocean scene, it’s important to consider the types of materials you and your builder plan to use when carrying out the design. This includes not only the pool structure and surface itself, but also the bordering elements, such as paving, decking and fencing. Sloggett says to focus on natural materials, listing “weathered timber decks, natural stones, random weathered stones, stone walls, and subtle rock work” as preferable choices, along with “gnarly timber pickets or slender timber for pool fences that meander through the landscape”.
Natural and weathered materials lend themselves well to the potentially harsher environmental conditions along the coast, which tend to be wetter and windier. Sloggett agrees, adding that, for this very reason, these materials also create the perfect aesthetic; “Certainly, some materials endure the elements better than others, but again, natural materials such as stone and weathered timber have always been a classic beach house, coastal look.”
Entertaining The Environment
Speaking of the elements, seaside suburbs have a unique climate and environmental factors that differ from their suburban and urban counterparts, which can create challenges during the construction process. For the best results, it’s advisable to find a pool builder with experience working in these environments. “Usually here on the Mornington Peninsula the soil type [in] Portsea, Sorrento, Rye, Blairgowrie [is] all sand,” Sloggett says. “Flinders, Shoreham, Red Hill [and] Main Ridge [have] clay soils. Both pose different challenges but understanding what we are working with is a huge advantage.”
Environmental factors, as with any pool no matter your location, will also affect your pool’s functionality long after it’s built. Researching the appropriate type of heating system and cover, among other necessary equipment, will determine the longevity of your pool and how much maintenance might be required down the track – plus your ability to enjoy it across all of the seasons. “That coastal sea breeze is a big one,” Sloggett notes, “we often recommend an additional solar collector, pool covers to keep the heat in, and heat pumps are [also] becoming more popular.”
And while it’s essential to think about how the environment is going to affect your pool, you should also acknowledge how your pool will affect the surrounding environment. Between the energy generated to keep the pool warm for year-round swimming, chemicals for sanitisation and other factors, pools can have a significant footprint on the planet. However, many pool builders, including East Coast Swimming Pools, are finding more sustainable ways to do things, meaning you can help preserve your beloved beach and its teeming wildlife. “Most of our coastal pool projects are not connected to mains sewer or have [a] pressure sewer, so cartridge filters are an ideal solution and use a lot less water with no backwashing required,” Sloggett says. “Chlorine-free sanitation is [becoming] more popular. Solar heating, heat pumps run via PV solar panels and covers to keep the heat in to extend the swimming season [are other sustainable options].”
Add a bit of landscaping using native, salt-tolerant plants, and an adjoining alfresco area, seaside pools can offer the ultimate retreat for entertaining and hosting gatherings after a day at the beach. By taking all the charms of the coast into account to create a stylish and inviting pool, your home by the water will become that much more enviable.